So…Black Flag. It was a good show but not a great show. Ron Reyes was a fierce frontman and the song selection was heavily weighted toward’s their first 5 years (ie the good stuff). A couple of things dragged it down though. First, the new drummer could not hold a candle to Robo. He didn’t even attempt stuff like the fills on “Depression” and just was a weak link all around. Second, Greg Ginn could not help from throwing in several long, tedious songs towards the end of the set, during which he abused a theramin. One of them (“Can’t Decide” from My War) is even a song I like, but they did a 3 or 4 minute intro with theramin to what was already a 5 minute song and then threw in an extra long guitar solo to boot. Then closed with a 5+ minute version of Louie Louie. As I commented to Nicole afterwards, it was like two-thirds of a great show and one third self-indulgent nonsense.
The last couple of months I have been slow in responding to emails and late in getting things done. If this has affected you, I’m sorry about that. My deepest apologies go to the Dragon Age fans, who have been waiting for Set 3 long enough already.
The trouble began at the end of April when I woke up with a sore shoulder. I thought I just slept on it badly and it would right itself in a few days. A week later I went to get a massage because it had not gotten better and I was sleeping badly. That did not help, so I went in to see my doctor. She thought it might be my rotator cuff and referred me to a physical therapist. She also had me take 12 Ibuprofen a day for one week to see if that’d relax the muscles.
The therapy and exercises seemed to help for a couple of weeks. I still had to sleep on the couch though, as I could not lie flat in bed without pain. Then one Sunday the pain came roaring back. That week I could find no position–standing, sitting, or lying down–that was without pain. My thumb went numb and I started to get shooting pains up and down my arm. I could not sit at a computer for longer than 15 minutes. Sleep was horrible and I began to dread each night.
I went to see my doctor again and she made what turned out to be the correct diagnosis: I had a pinched nerve in my neck. She gave a 5 day course of steroids and a small amount of Vicodin for the pain. I also continued to see my PT. The steroids ended the worst of the pain but then things just plateaued. She told me to do another week of 12 Ibuprofen a day, and I hoarded the Vicodin so I could take one pill before bed (well, couch).
My physical therapist told me to alert her if things didn’t get any better and she would escalate my case. By this Monday I was still in pain all the time, so I sent up the Bat Signal. I went to the Spinal Clinic on Monday and was diagnosed again by a different PT and a new doctor. They agreed that the culprit was a pinched nerve. We scheduled a MRI for the next day and then a steroid injection by my spine for Monday. He gave me more Vicodin (hooray!) and some Valium to help me get through the MRI.
So yesterday morning I went in for the MRI. Since I had been unable to lie flat without pain for two months now, the idea of having to do that in a narrow tube did not thrill me. I followed the doctor’s instructions and took a Valium and Vicodin when I woke up. Then I took two more Valium before the MRI. Nonetheless, when they strapped me in, there was searing, stabby pain. When they are giving you a MRI, you can’t move or you ruin the imaging, so all I could do was lie there and suck it up for 15 long minutes. Goddamn, that was hurt but I did it. The tech said I was “awesome at laying still.” I hope the images are worth it.
Monday I go in for the steroid shot. With a needle near my spine, I don’t expect it to be pleasant, but if it works I will gladly suffer through it. By bathing that area with steroids, hopefully the muscles will finally relax and unpinch my spine. Then a little more PT should take care of it. With GenCon coming up next month, I really want to get back into fighting shape. I also have a ton of work to do, on Dragon Age, Freeport, and more. I’ve lost enough time already.
And hey, Spine? After this let’s never fight again.